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MARLBOROUGH HOUSE, 30 VICTORIA STREET, BELFAST, BT1 3GG, NORTHERN IRELAND
Tel:
Work 028 9055 3300
Fax:
Fax 028 9055 0096
DX:
433 NR BELFAST 1
Web:
www.tughans.com

Northern Ireland

Dispute resolution
Dispute resolution - ranked: tier 1

Tughans

Tughans handles a broad range of commercial disputes under the leadership of Michael McCord, while Kathy McGillie leads on insurance litigation and Andrew Anthony handles healthcare disputes. Construction disputes are a key area of activity; McCord is leading the team representing Vaughan Engineering Services in a £9m dispute over the construction of a critical care unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. Managing partner Patrick Brown is a key figure for procurement disputes and is acting alongside Naomi Cooper for Northern Ireland Water in a £4.5m claim brought by Glen Water alleging breach of a project agreement. Other clients include RPS and Northstone (NI) Ltd; the firm is defending the former client in High Court proceedings brought by a contractor alleging professional negligence concerning the design of a coffer dam system at Thompson Dock in Belfast.

Leading individuals

Michael McCord - Tughans

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Northern Ireland: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and M&A
Corporate and M&A - ranked: tier 1

Tughans

The corporate team at Tughans garners praise for its ‘industry knowledge, practicality and depth of capability’. 2016 has seen the firm continue to act on large-scale transactions and investments across the technology, manufacturing, energy and real estate sectors. In a key highlight for the year, John McGuckian led advice to the shareholders of Delta Print & Packaging on its £80m sale to Finnish company, Huhtamaki. In an illustration of its energy-sector credentials the team acted for Chinese company, CGN, on its acquisition of 14 windfarms in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland from Gaelectric. John-George Willis heads the practice and has a longstanding reputation for his corporate expertise. Other key names include investment fund expert Ciara Lagan, who acted for LondonMetric Property, a FTSE 250 REIT, on the sale of its Northern Ireland subsidiary for more than £30m. The firm also has a market-leading presence in the private equity sector, where it acts for clients including Kernel Capital and Pentech Ventures.

Leading individuals

John-George Willis - Tughans

Next generation lawyers

Ciara Lagan - Tughans

John McGuckian - Tughans

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Northern Ireland: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 1

Tughans

One of the best in the region’, Tughans’ ‘very knowledgeable and commercial’ team acts for a range of banks, investment firms and corporates on corporate finance, restructurings, project finance and property development, among other areas. Highlights included acting for key client Stranmillis Investments on the refinancing of a £30m commercial and residential property portfolio; the team is also advising the same client on equity loan capital and refinancing for a joint venture company, Straben Limited, worth in excess of £24m. David McAleese has been leading for Stranimillis Investments and is recommended for his property and corporate finance and restructuring expertise. He jointly leads the practice with the ‘very organised, responsive and commercialFearghal O’Loan. Other clients include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which the firm advised on the amendment and restatement of loan facilities, confirmation of securities and revision of corporate guarantees relating to the acquisition of a portfolio of 23 hotels; First Trust Bank, which the firm is continuing to advise on the financing of wind turbines across Northern Ireland; and corporate MJM Damolly, which the firm advised on the financing of the purchase of a retail park in Newry.

Leading individuals

Fearghal O’Loan - Tughans

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Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 2

Tughans

The insolvency team at Tughans attracts praise for its ‘pro-active and professional service’, which it provides to banks, accountancy firms, directors and insolvent companies. The team’s wide-ranging track record of advice covers the appointment of administrators, liquidation proceedings and voluntary insolvency, amongst other areas. Toby McMurray led the team advising Irish Bank Resolution Company on its successful bankruptcy petition against Peter Darragh Quinn, which involved the recovery of assets transferred to a number of jurisdictions around the world. McMurray also acted for Upstream Working Capital, and is now acting for the appointed administrator, in issues arising from the group restructuring of T&A Kernoghan, including advising the administrator on potential litigation. Other clients include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, KPMG and Bank of Ireland. McMurray jointly leads the practice with Fearghal O’Loan; both garner praise for being ‘attentive, capable, trustworthy and excellent to work with’.

Leading individuals

Toby McMurray - Tughans

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Northern Ireland: Human resources

Employment
Employment - ranked: tier 1

Tughans

Tughans’ employment group has ‘an excellent ability to clearly explain legal complexities so they can be understood in a commercial context’. The firm acts for employers in a range of industries, including finance, infrastructure and manufacturing. The team has been highly active on the employment aspects arising from multimillion-pound mergers and acquisitions; key 2016 mandates include advising DELT Print & Packaging on its sale to Huhtamaki, advising Label One Limited on its sale to CCL, and advising M&M Contractors (Europe) Limited on its acquisition of the business and assets of Mascott Construction in administration. Anna Beggan leads the team, which has ‘depth of knowledge and experience, with excellent attention to detail’. She is particularly experienced with class action and TUPE matters, as well as M&A; she has been handling a number of harassment and discrimination claims before the Industrial Tribunal. Patricia Rooney is a ‘knowledgeable and pragmatic practitioner’ and has been handling union-backed class actions and significant unfair dismissal claims.

Leading individuals

Anna Beggan - Tughans

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Northern Ireland: Insurance

Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant
Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant - ranked: tier 1

Tughans

Tughans provides a ‘first-class service’ and expertise across a broad range of clinical negligence and personal injury matters. Kathy McGillie heads the department and is best known for defending employers in catastrophic injury claims, including mesothelioma and policy coverage matters. Neil Smyth and Neil Cahill, who are highly recommended for employers’ and public liability matters, successfully represented the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in a number high-value personal injury disputes. Other clients include motor insurers such as InterEurope, which the team acts for in relation to catastrophic road traffic accidents across Europe. Andrew Anthony (a ‘first-class and astute litigator’) leads on the healthcare and clinical negligence front; recent work has included dental surgeon negligence disputes, delayed diagnosis claims and multimillion-pound GP negligence claims.

Leading individuals

Andrew Anthony - Tughans

Kathy McGillie - Tughans

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Northern Ireland: Projects, energy and natural resources

Energy
Energy - ranked: tier 2

Tughans

Tughans’ energy practice has been active across a range of energy mandates, including matters relating to gas, wind, anaerobic digestion and oil. The group advises on the acquisition of windfarms, as well as on financing and project development. In a standout matter the firm advices InvestNI on a £23m investment into an anaerobic plant in Ballymena; Ciara Lagan led the advice. Corporate head John-George Willis advised CGN on its acquisition of 14 windfarms across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Other clients include Aircore and Granville Ecopark.

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Northern Ireland: Real estate

Commercial property
Commercial property - ranked: tier 1

Tughans

Tughans attracts praise for its ‘excellent service, immediate response times and excellent advice’. The team regularly advises on high-profile and high-value property sales within the retail, energy, hotel and insolvency sectors, with shopping centre sales continuing to be a key feature of the Northern Ireland market. Newly appointed partner Rebecca Moffett led the advice to London Metric Property on the £30m sale of Damolly Retail Park which houses B&Q, Halfords and numerous national retail names. Student accommodation is another area of growing activity; David Jones led the advice to asset manager Curlew Capital on the acquisition of the former Belfast Metropolitan College building for the purposes of a new student accommodation development, which involved a complex forward funding transaction with the developer, followed by securing development funding from a syndicate of banks which would be converted into investment funding upon completion of construction and the students taking occupation of the premises. Phyllis Agnew heads the practice. Tracey Schofield left to join A&L Goodbody in May 2016.

Leading individuals

John Mills - Tughans

Phyllis Agnew - Tughans

Next generation lawyers

Rebecca Moffett - Tughans

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 1

Tughans

The ‘highly personable and responsive’ team at Tughansgoes the extra mile’ for its wide-ranging client base client base, which it advises on front-end construction matters and high-value disputes. Energy, healthcare and office developments have all been key areas of activity in 2016; energy clients include Adman Civil Projects, Northstone and Invest NI. Ley infrastructure mandates included advising on the procurement of a €850m Apple data centre. On the contentious side the team represented contractor Vaughan Engineering Services on £9m-worth of claims in relation to the construction of a new critical care unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast; practice head and contentious construction expert Michael McCord led the team and is praised as a ‘master of his brief; he is forensic in his ability to devise strategies and gets the best out of every situation’. Tim Kinney is recommended for his front-end expertise and for his ‘extensive knowledge’.

Leading individuals

Michael McCord - Tughans

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Planning and environment
Planning and environment - ranked: tier 2

Tughans

The planning practice at Tughans has wide-ranging sector expertise and a track record of advice on major projects within the infrastructure, utility and energy sectors. Maria O’Loan leads the practice and has been acting for Apple in judicial reviews and public inquiries relating to the construction of a new data centre in the Republic of Ireland. The group is also advising the Ulster Council Gaelic Athletic Association on the redevelopment of Casement Park; planning consent for this development was quashed following judicial review, resulting in ongoing environmental advice for the new application. Other major pieces of work include advising on a £23m anaerobic digestion plant, assisting with the development of 14 wind farms across Northern Ireland, and handling a number of matters related to transportation hubs.

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Northern Ireland: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 2

Tughans

Tughans handles transactional matters for technology companies, and also assists investment funds with their technology-related investments. Highlights included advising Kernel Capital on its investment into Causeway Sensor, a spin-out from Queen’s University Belfast that manufactures chips for detecting protein levels. The group also acts for a number of IT service providers including Titan IC Systems, Sophia Search and Texthelp, which the team advised on its acquisition of an IP portfolio from GMath. Other clients include global search engines. Adrian O’Connell leads the team but a range of corporate partners are involved in these transactions including Ciara Lagan, John McGuckian and James Donnelly.

Leading individuals

Adrian O’Connell - Tughans

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 1

Tughans

Tughans advises technology and biotechnology companies on a range of IP matters, including technology development agreements, patent protection, and M&A-related IP matters. 2016 highlights included advising Texthelp Systems, a venture capital backed assistive learning software company, on the acquisition of an IP portfolio from GMath, and assisting Monaghan Biosciences with a development agreement with Dutch DNA Biotech, which involved the negotiation and settlement of intellectual property inputs and outputs into a complex two-stage development in the field of fungal biotechnology. Other clients include Fusion Antibodies, Randox Health and Invest Northern Ireland. Technology expert Adrian O’Connell heads the team.

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